Nor does he come with an "off" button.

March 1st, 2009 10:27 pm by Kelly Garbato

“Each year hundreds of dogs are abandoned because their owners are tired of playing with them. A dog is not a toy.”

Fundación Altarriba - A Dog is Not a Toy

Fundación Altarriba - A Dog is Not a Toy 2

(For those who cannot view the two print ads, each one depicts a forlorn dog, lying abandoned amongst piles of old, broken children’s toys: dolls, stuffed animals, buckets, soccer balls. Each dog is Photoshopped to look a little toy-like: one has a slot on her tummy for batteries, while the other has a large plastic hole on his hind leg – perhaps he’s supposed to be a piggy bank? The text reads: “Each year hundreds of dogs are abandoned because their owners are tired of playing with them. A dog is not a toy.”)

It’s sad that an ad campaign actually has to state such an obvious truism but, as the animal welfare organization Fundación Altarriba observes, hundreds of companion animals are tossed out like someone’s garbage every year (presumably, these statistics only encompass Spain, where the organization is based; the numbers run into the millions in the United States). Like unwanted or outgrown toys. But they’re not toys or garbage; they’re living, sentient beings, and bringing a dog into one’s family is a lifetime commitment – or rather, it should be treated as such – similar to adopting or birthing a child. Adoption is for life.

This is also why you should never, ever buy a companion animal as a gift, or at least not as a gift for an unsuspecting recipient – after all, you don’t psychologically damage an ugly sweater by returning it to the store, or neglecting it in your closet. You simply can’t say the same for a dog, a cat, a hamster, or a bird.

Wow. You know, I actually meant for this to be a more light-hearted post. No, really, I swear! I’m not sure where I went off-track – it’s a sad ad series, yes, but I do quite like it: it’s honest, and creative, and moving. And sad. Sigh.

OK, so. Go read this piece from The Onion: I’m Thinking About Getting A Dog To Neglect. It’s a little sad, but also super snarky:

I’m just dying to get a sweet, sweet puppy, one I can love will all my heart to the extent that it’s convenient for me.

Do you know why I want one so bad? Because they are full of love! They’re snuggly. They don’t know that you aren’t fit to own them. They adore you no matter what. And that’s exactly what’s missing from my life: the kind of nonjudgmental creature who doesn’t clash with my living room furniture and allows me to say “I have a dog” to anyone I think it will impress.

It would just be so great to come home after a 10-hour day to an innocent, eager face that you could shower with phrases like “Who’s a good boy?” and “Did you miss Momma?” for a few seconds before settling down to watch TV, ignoring its yipping and yapping for the rest of the night.

And if it were a cuddly little sweetheart, I’d let it sleep on my bed whenever it wanted, unless I had company, or it was too hot out, or it started shedding on my good sheets, or I just needed to stretch out across the whole bed to get comfy.

Oh, I want one, I want one, I want one!

Something that relies on me for its every need, something that’s completely helpless because every natural defense its species once possessed has been bred out of it. A lovable critter who has no choice but to show me unconditional love, howling uncontrolably every time I leave because deep down in its adorable little head it can’t be sure I’m ever coming back.

Maybe even file it away, for the next time an idiot acquaintance gets in his head to buy a chihuahua for the woman he’s been dating for two months, or a friend decides to get a dog, even though she spend all of nine hours at home every night.

Jeez, there I go again. Ms. Negativity. What can I say, the humans, they irk me.

I think I’ll go have a drink and grab some Rennie snuggles before bed – that should cheer me up. Thank Dog for Rennie snuggles. She could give Taffy a run for her bones, but I *heart* her anyway.

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